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Nevada Scrap Metal Can Bring Big Bucks And Felony Charges In California


Mark Oldfield is with the Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery or Cal Recycle.  He says the scam is simple. 

"In Nevada," he says.  "There is no redemption value on their aluminum cans and plastic bottles, glass bottles.   What individuals will do is buy these materials in Nevada for scrap value and then bring them to California."

In the most recent case, Cal Recycle says five people from the Reno/Sparks area were arrested as they were transporting two tons of plastic and aluminum into California.  A sixth suspect is at large.  Investigators say the suspects had another three tons of recyclables in storage.

Cal Recycle estimates the amount of fraud committed against the system at between $30 million and $50 million dollars per  year.  Oldfield says the department is making changes designed to deter future fraud.

"We'll limit the amount of material any one individual can bring into a recycling center in a given day," he says.  "We are also developing regulations to support the state law that requires anybody bringing beverage material across state lines to travel through a food and agricultural checkpoint station and provide identifying information." 

Oldfield says the new regulations will provide support to the actions the state is taking now.

"The Department of Justice has a number of ongoing investigations and then on the administrative side, Cal Recycle is on a regular basis we visit recycling centers and processors, we flag claims for payment for further investigation. "

Consumers pay about $1.2 billion in CRV charges every year.  About $900 million is paid out in refunds.



Bob Moffitt

Sacramento Region Reporter

Bob reports on all things northern California and Nevada. His coverage of police technology, local athletes, and the environment has won a regional Associated Press and several Edward R. Murrow awards.   Read Full Bio 

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